This report critically examines systems theory as an interpersonal communications theory. It offers an in-depth examination of its key concepts and terms. It includes a chronologically sorted out overview of relevant literature, an examination of current research, and provides understanding into to the future path of systems theory studies. The record talks about how systems theory can be applied to business communication, and how the theory provides a perspective that is unique among social communication ideas.
Unlike those of earlier centuries, the trademark of modern society is quick change. As political, financial, and longstanding cultural institutions collapse, it's important our view of organizations and individual relationships be interactional (Dainton & Zelley, 2004). The current trend of movements towards a globalized economy and society creates an increasingly important need to understand specific and organizational surroundings. To function within an environment of perpetual change, organizations and people must have the ability maintain synergy of their connections, as well much like their external environment (Dainton & Zelley, 2004; Sias, 2009). By taking an interactional view of human relationships, systems theory identifies the links between individuals and their environments and is enthusiastic about the dynamics of those connections.
Systems theory is a relatively new perspective. Before 1960's, theorists had not applied rules common to biological systems to organizational systems (Sias, 2009). Unlike many theories, systems theory places the utmost importance on the environment of an organization. The idea postulates that external factors contribute a great deal to the working dynamics of an organization. The systems point of view proposes that, though a business is an 3rd party entity, it depends on the external environment for "inputs" such as employees, consumers, and materials (Sias, 2009).
This report will critically look at systems theory within the framework of social communication. It will include an in-depth examination of its key principles and terms. It'll include a chronologically organized review of relevant books, an study of current research, and provide insight into the future route of systems theory studies. The article will discuss how systems theory can be applied to business communication, and how the theory offers a perspective that is exclusive among social communication theories.
Though it is generally examined as an interpersonal communication theory in this paper, systems theory is a much larger heuristic theory. It could be used as the conceptual framework with which to create theory within all disciplines. What is unique about systems theory is the fact it examines the human relationships between the individual monads of a group. Systems theory is also thinking about the relationship between your environment and the monad, as well as the surroundings and the complete system as an entity. To comprehend the systems perspective, one must have a knowledge of the conditions that'll be described in the preceding paragraphs.
To understand interpersonal communication from the systems perspective, it's important that the audience understand the term communication in the correct framework. Monge said that, "A central assumption of systems solutions is that communication is the means by which systems are created and sustained (Monge, as cited in Dainton & Zelley, 2004). This postulate assumes that interactive behaviours between folks are the building blocks of systems. This point of view can be illustrated by evaluating the makeup of a family group. Monge's postulate says that the actual fact that there surely is a mother, father, and child does not inherently yield something. The ways in which the mother, father, and child communicate are what constitutes the family system.
Of the individuals involved in the communication process, Monge says that "atlanta divorce attorneys communication the participants offer to one another definitions of these relationships, or more forcefully mentioned, each seeks to look for the nature of the relationship. " (Monge, as cited in Dainton & Zelley, 2004) In evaluating this postulate, one must notice a number of important characteristics of people in a system. One must remember that individual will plays a role in this technique. A person will screen their conception of these associations to others within the machine. Also important to note is that communications sent by an individual can be misinterpreted or disregarded by others. Although dynamics of a system, as well as external environmental factors can are likely involved in defining connections, the motives and perceptions of the individual are also widespread.
It is important that the audience now examine the term "system" within the framework of systems theory. The writer provides relevant meanings of the word in the preceding lines. Hall and Fagen define a system as several individuals who interrelate to create a complete (Hall, Fagen, as cited in Dainton & Zelley, 2004). One might imagine several individual fish that make up a institution, or several individual antelope that make up a herd. Watzlawick described a system as "two or more communicants in the process of, or at the level of, defining the nature of their relationships. " (Watzlawick, as cited in Monge, 1977). The partnership between mom and child provide an example of this type of system. In that relationship, the mother knows herself to be the nurturer of the kid and her conducts represent her understanding. Through perceiving the behaviours of the mother, the child is aware of her role as well as his/her own role as the recipient of her nurturing habit. Through the process of perceiving and communicating relationship roles, something is created.
To understand systems, it is critical to remember that they exist in a external environment with which they have interaction. Monge (1977) represents systems as "interlinked pieces of components hierarchically structured into structural wholes which interact through time and space, are self-regulating, yet capable of structural change" (p. 20). This is confirmed by Khailov when he said that is does not matter how one thing effects another, but how collections of occasions function with regards to their environment (Khailov, as cited in Monge, 1977). Exterior environments are essential to systems because they are a dependence on differentiation. Fisher and Hawes explain something as any collection of people who work as a group with an identical goal. They state that that the normal goals of people are what split them from their external environment (Fisher & Hawes, 1971).
Now that the terms "communication" and "system" have been described in context, attention must be turned to the idea of hierarchies within systems. Laszlo defines hierarchies as bought arrangements of systems that are connected along by differing levels of complexity. Laszlo goes on to say that each subsystems provide as coordinating interfaces within complicated systems (Laszlo, as cited in Monge, 1977). What is important to note about the notion of hierarchy within systems is the fact that subsystems serve dual functions. They preside over their individual sphere of effect as well as performing as a medium to superior complicated systems (Monge, 1977). An example of this behavior can be seen if one imagines a big organization. Within the marketing department, there exist subsystems which will be the advertising, public relations, and costing departments. The advertising subsystem retains all of its advertising functions but eventually yields its work to a higher order system (the marketing division).
After explaining the characteristics of any subsystem in a intricate system, a conception of your suprasystem must also be developed. As the subsystem is a smaller area of the entire group, a suprasystem is a larger system within which systems operate (Dainton & Zelley, 2004). To demonstrate this let us again take the exemplory case of a marketing team within an business. The advertising, public relations, and rates departments are subsystems of the marketing system. As a system, the marketing section functions in a suprasystem which is the entire corporation. Within that suprasystem will be the marketing, creation, and customer service systems.
In many ways, the terms external environment and suprasystem are synonymous, as the suprasystem provides the environment in which systems interact. Carrying on with the example found in the previous paragraph, one could argue that the business itself is a system that functions within a more substantial suprasystem. This suprasystem comprises multiple organizational systems the together form a nationwide economy. One would also be accurate in arguing that the countrywide economy exists in a still greater suprasystem. That suprasystem could be defined as the global market within which countrywide economies function and interact.
Now that it's understood that systems (and people) are present within bought hierarchies, we must explore how those hierarchies interact and relate. To do this, one must understand the word "nonsummativity". The theory behind nonsummativity is the fact that the whole is greater than the total of its parts (Rapoport, as cited in Dainton & Zelley, 2004). To illustrate the concept of nonsummativity, imagine a log cabin. It may have taken 500 logs to construct the cabin, but only after they were assemble in a specific way did they become a cabin. It is obvious that 500 logs laying in an unorganized heap is not a cabin. Only once each log preserves a specific relationship to others could it be a cabin. This example illustrates how connections between individuals can develop a system that is measurably different from the sum of its parts.
Inherent in the idea of nonsummativity is the idea of interdependence. Inside the framework of systems theory, interdependence means that every member of a system would depend on all members in order to accomplish their goals. If one person or subsystem fails to function properly, then other folks are less likely to function properly. The failure of subsystems also escalates the odds of overall system failure (Farace & Rogers, as cited in Monge, 1977). A soccer team illustrates how interdependence affects individual group associates as well as the machine. If the groups goalkeeper is injured and unable to succeed, his inability to operate properly affects his relationship to other team members and the team as a whole. Because of his incapability to fill his role, other players must make up by trying to protect the goal. By compensating for the failing subsystem (the goalkeeper), the other players become less effective at rewarding their own positions. The dynamics of these relationships ultimately makes the team less likely to achieve its goal of being successful the match.
Systems theory is considering relational communication research which is unlike the individualistic methodology of several analytic methodologies. Relational research only focuses on phenomena that appear between two or more individuals or monads. Individualistic evaluation focuses on specific phenomena and do not require dyads to accumulate data. The properties that emerge from the communication of people are the basic product of analysis. These properties aren't found at the individual level (Monge, 1977). Within the realm of interpersonal communication, the concentration is on the way individuals perceive text messages and react to them within the context of a marriage.
It is now important to change from the micro point of view of nonsummativity and interdependence, to examine systems at a macro level. To do this we must understand the basic principle of homeostasis (Ashby, as cited in Dainton & Zelley, 2004). Homeostasis can be regarded as the total amount or equilibrium that is available within something. Homeostasis could also be described as a systems resiliency somewhat than its rigidity. In just a changing environment, homeostasis is a systems capability to maintain itself (Dainton & Zelley, 2004). Change is natural to systems and when they are unable to maintain homeostatic variables, a new structure or behavior is established (Arditi, 1988). The recent financial crisis in america provides an example of homeostasis. When the market became volatile, many finance institutions were unable to keep up solvency and disintegrated. Those corporations that were able to maintain homeostasis continued to be solvent and survived the turmoil.
Here a difference must be produced between individual systems and other biological systems. With the cellular or pet level, homeostasis is reached relatively easily through instinctive reactions. Herds of zebra maintain their system through instinctual reactions to familiar phenomena such as changing conditions and predators. White blood vessels cells instinctively strike foreign bacteria to keep up homeostasis. Characteristic of these non-human systems is too little logical reasoning which greatly simplifies achieving homeostasis. With the human level, homeostasis is come to at the individual and group level getting together with, rather than simply reacting to environments. This characteristic provides humans with better adaptability to more complex environments. The power of humans to interact with more technical systems renders them much more likely to be dissatisfied (Schmertz, 1994). Because they have the capacity to connect to systems of ever increasing complexity, they'll find it progressively more difficult to achieve homeostasis in intricate systems (Schmertz, 1994).
Now that the idea of homeostasis is understood, it is important to explore the theory of Equifinality. Bertalanffy says, Equifinality suggests that there are multiple ways to attain the same goal (Bertalanffy, as cited in Dainton & Zelley, 2004). Critical to the principle is the thought of closed and available systems. Relating to Bertalanffy, a closed down system is one where the final sate depends upon the original conditions (Bertalanffy, 1951). Within the nature vs. nurture paradigm, the naturalist point of view is comparable to a closed down system. A naturalist would claim a child created into poverty, with abusive parents, and little education is most likely destined to stay in poverty because of his/her primary conditions. Conversely, an open up system can reach a homeostatic point out from various original conditions, rendering it equifinal (Bertalanffy, 1951). Again looking at the nature vs. nurture paradigm, the second option viewpoint would argue a child's preliminary circumstances do not determine their final state. This viewpoint resonates with the open up system point of view.
The shut down and open system paradigm is characterized by reaction and connection. An open up system can maintain time-independent claims that are independent of external stimuli and are instead dependant on system guidelines (Fisher & Hawes, 1971). Again we look at human being systems compared to animal systems. Pet animal systems are relatively shut in that they only respond to environmental stimuli. A pack of wolves will devour a newly expired bison because it is their instinctual response. Individuals systems are wide open systems and could behave differently based on system parameters. A group of nomadic humans may choose never to eat a deceased bison because their group has a solid spiritual belief from this practice. This is an example of how system parameters could override environmental stimuli and constitute an open system.
The ability to generate their own information is natural to open up systems. This allows open up systems to adapt themselves and mediate the effects of environmental stimuli (Fisher & Hawes, 1971). This quality illustrates how equifinal systems have the ability to reach the same goals with varying methods and initial factors. Rapoport says that the power of open systems to self-determine or take corrective procedures is what identifies them (Rapoport, as cited in Fisher & Hawes, 1971). Start systems have predetermined goals. They could evaluate their performance compared to their goal, and make requisite corrections. A good example of this characteristic is seen in examining a romantic relationship. In case a couple has an idea to marry, but currently experienced many disagreements, they could recognize that their current tendencies is not conducive with their system goal. In order to reach their distributed goal, they might agree on more effective means of settling disagreements.
Concisely, systems theory examines the ways that individuals connect to each other. It specifically targets the repeated interactional behaviors that constitute homeostasis and the achievement of systemic goals (Dainton & Zelley, 2004). On the macro level, the systems perspective examines the associations which exist between subsystems, systems, and suprasystems. The idea recognizes that all types of systems can be found within an bought hierarchy. The postulates of systems theory are quintessential to the paradigm transfer seen in modern science from self-actional, to interactional and transactional conceptions (Bertalanffy, 1951).
Now that the key ideas of systems theory have been described, a brief overview of relevant literature will observe. The review will be provided in chronological order so that the reader gains conception of the evolution of systems theory as a theoretical construct in interpersonal communications.
Ludwig Von Bertalanffy was the first theorist to use the open up systems model to psychology. He argued that the current idiographic constructs of mindset would only lead to the collection of data and that a nomothetic point of view was also necessary (Bertalanffy, 1951). He argued that the procedure mechanization types of cybernetics and other finished system perspectives cannot account for human creativity. His realization was that, "A full time income organism is a hierarchy of open systems maintaining itself in a steady state because of its natural system conditions" (p. 37). Bertalanffy (1951) suggested a model conception for psychology should be, "(a) essentially active, though including structural order, founded by intensifying mechanization, as a produced yet most significant circumstance; (b) molar, though enabling molecular interpretation of the average person operations, (c) formal, though enabling future material interpretations" (p. 36).
Though the wide open system construct began to see used in psychology, its scope was initially limited to casual and family organizations. The internal sciences were still firmly focused on the individual perspective. Katz and Kahn (1966) were first to apply the open up systems create to organized groups. They felt that this approach was essential to connect the micro-focused domains of psychology to the macro-focused sociologic and financial fields. They suggested that open up systems offered two approaches to organizational problems. First was that, "the issues of organizations could be looked at as a function of the kind of structuring where they occurred" (Katz, 1980, p. 242). Second was that, "the search for communal dynamics in the interdependence of business and environment as the business relies upon energic and informational insight from its surround and procedures this input to attain a product that your larger culture needs" (Katz, 1980, p. 242). Katz and Kahn believed that organizations were not self-contained though they seek to control their conditions and increase their restrictions (Katz, 1980).
In their 2002 review, Leetiernan, Mischel, and Shoda conceptualized personality as a strong system. Their analysis focused on the variable and invariable characteristics of personality. They suggested that although external environment and connections with others can affect personality, there are invariable characteristics that are unique to individuals. After creating the framework because of their personality system, they were in a position to apply the same concepts to interpersonal systems. They were able to illustrate how personality systems could be employed to interpersonal systems by learning dyadic human relationships. Their model confirmed how the action of each spouse became the situational insight for the other. The results confirmed that the thoughts, feeling, and behaviors of people are not only the merchandise of their personality system, however the interpersonal systems to that they belong.
Now that the evolution of systems theory has been conceptualized within the context of social communication, the writer will take a look at current fads in systems theory research. The work of Dr. Nicholas Christakis is focused on studying individuals social networks as a method of predicting phenomena. The idea suggested by Christakis is that by monitoring individuals within interpersonal social networks who experience a relatively lot of relationships, researchers can predict phenomena much faster than could be achieved with classical arbitrary sampling techniques. When studying undergraduate internet sites at Harvard University or college, this technique provided warning of the H1N1 epidemic 16 days and nights earlier than the randomly decided on control group (Christakis, 2010).
Systems theory is incredibly applicable in the field of business communication because organizations are inherently open systems (Hickson, 1973). It really is difficult to judge organizational communication for performance without a valid theoretical construct. Systems theory offers a basis for organizations to quantify knowledge from inputs and therefore assess organizational success. Hickson's communication model proposes an organization receives positive and negative type from its environment (inside and external) on the system's success. After the source of the suggestions is taken into consideration, the business can utilize positive suggestions to reinforce the machine structure and choose how to respond to negative suggestions (Hickson, 1973).
From its root base in physics, to the natural, and finally the social sciences, the interactive guidelines of systems theory seem to be evermore widespread. It's axioms have been noticed at the atomic, cellular, and communal levels. Those axioms seem to be to permeate all levels of perception. By analyzing the key ideas of the systems point of view and delving into its advancement as a theoretical construct, the audience has hopefully captured a glimpse of the value of the science of systems. Current research shows that the possibilities of systems theory to aid in the knowledge of individuals and mankind as a whole are guaranteeing. In 1951 Ludwig Von Bertalanffy published that, as an available system, man is the creator of his environment as opposed to the product, and that capacity inevitably brings the clash of ideologies, goals, and symbols. In his own words, Bertalanffy (1951) said, "Whether the levels of personality can be properly altered is the question after which man's future is dependent" (p. 38).
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